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Set rules on personal use of company cars

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During his lunch break, an employee at a California car dealership drove a company car on a personal errand. He rear-ended another car and injured the driver, who sued the car dealership and won $277,662 in damages. The dealership's handbook offered no specifics regarding personal use of company property, nor did the company set any protocol for employee use of cars. That indifference, the court said, created an inference of permission. (Taylor v. Roseville Toyota)

Advice: Don't leave any wiggle room in your policies regarding when employees can use company vehicles for personal use. Make those policies clear and precise, then train employees on those rules. If you give vague directions (or none at all), a court could interpret that action as implied consent. As a result, your organization would become liable for crashes that occur during that personal driving time.

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